St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner.
Hours after a St. Louis grand jury indicted him for felony invasion of privacy, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens shot back at the city's top prosecutor.
"With today's disappointing and misguided political decision, my confidence in our prosecutorial system is shaken, but not broken," Greitens said in a statement
released this evening. The governor acknowledged the past affair, but stated, "I did not commit a crime."
See also Missouri Governor Greitens Indicted for Invasion of Privacy
Greitens struck a defiant tone, and made it clear he considers the actions of St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner — who launched her office's investigation one day after
KMOV revealed Greitens' affair and alleged blackmail — as politically motivated theater.
"I know this will be righted soon," Greitens' statement continued. "The people of Missouri deserve better than a reckless liberal prosecutor who uses her office to score political points."
His statement concluded, "I look forward to the legal remedies to reverse this action. This will not for a moment deter me from doing the important work of the great people of Missouri."
Gardner, however, is battling back. An office spokeswoman released a statement late last night saying this:
Despite the Governor’s personal attacks, the Circuit Attorney believes the courtroom is the appropriate place to argue the facts, not the media. Kim Gardner maintains her unwavering confidence in our system of justice to bring this matter to a fair and just resolution.
The lawyers for Governor Greitens contacted the Circuit Attorney’s Office yesterday to meet for a “secret” meeting next week of counsel only. The Circuit Attorney asked if the Governor would be making a statement that is any different from his public statements. His lawyers said they wanted to share the “human” side of his story. The Circuit Attorney makes charging decisions based upon facts and evidence. Without additional facts and information from the Governor, the meeting was not necessary.
It is not unusual for the Circuit Attorney to conduct an independent investigation. There are many examples over the previous 15 years where the Circuit Attorney conducted Grand Jury investigations without the use of the police department.
Greitens was taken into custody earlier today on the felony charge, but he's since been released and given allowance to travel. But while the governor postures, several lawmakers are already calling for his resignation. Among them:
Republican state Senator Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia).
Republican state Senator Rob Schaaf (R-St. Joseph), who's already called for Greitens' resignation and reportedly
has spoken with the FBI about the governor's use of "dark money."
Democratic state Senator Jamilah Nasheed (D - St. Louis) reiterated her previous call
for Greitens to resign.
Notably, one state official who's remained on the sidelines is Lieutenant Governor Mike Parsons. If Greitens resigns or gets impeached, Parsons would become the 57th governor of Missouri.
Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at Danny.Wicentowski@RiverfrontTimes.com